Working on the Sabbath

Curious about how work is decided on the Sabbath? Is Jewish soctor not save a life? If there is a car accident in front of your house would it break the Sabbath to help out? Why would the omniscent God actually care about things such as this? Does the Jewish faith carry out laws written in Leviticus? Sorry for so many questions

Never be sorry for asking questions – it is the only way we learn!

Doctors do have a duty to help ease and heal people but when it can be avoided a Jewish doctor should not do said duties on the Sabbath nor another type of forbidden work but there is a law called “pikuach nefesh” which pretty much means saving a life.

Saving a life is seen as far higher than most things we are commanded not to do. Such examples includes eating non kosher food where otherwise you would starve and another example is where otherwise someone would die.

So in the questions above if a Jewish doctor was the only one that could save the person life then there is no question at all – their doctor oath comes first. If there was a car accident then checking people are alright or having to contact any services is fine.

It is worth adding that while saving a life is above most commands there are some that are placed higher such as not allowed defaming G’ds name, certain sexual acts and murder (although in self-defence or yourself or another is).

The Sabbath is important because it is a day we give to G’d. A day where we remember what G’d has done for us, the time it took for creation and for G’d on the day he picked to rest. I can not tell you why its important to G’d but it is important to us to remember everything that has been done for us.

Leviticus (I will carry on using this name for the rest of the question by Vayikra is the Hebrew name of the book) in a nutshell is something we should follow but there are parts which many Jews do disagree with such as animal sacrifice and it is something debated in the community about why. Nowadays the book is often read as a historical reminder of where we have been and it’s quite likely to be debated even further when The Third Temple is built.

So to answer that question not exactly nowadays. Some parts are, some parts ain’t and it ultimately varies between Jewish communities and sects.

Checking if I am Jewish

Today’s question (sorry about the delay!) that goes as follow.

My grandparents and grandmother (on my father’s side) were Jewish. My mother’s father was a tailor and his mother was named Ruth. We have k evidence as their Jewish heritage, although they may have become assimilated. My question is, how much if me is Jewish, if any!

Many thanks


Question by Steve

The question of who is a Jew is actually a tricky answer as many different Jewish branches will answer this question differently such as Reform Judaism would accept you as Jewish because your father would be Jewish in your question above while Orthodox Judaism would say no because your mother isn’t Jewish or at least you can’t confirm it.

There is a wonderful diagram from Reddit that you can follow to help you understand how the different branches see this.

https://imgur.com/r/Judaism/19hlS

Most important thing in a synagogue

What are the most important things to you in the synagogue and why?

A day or two ago I got this question and I do believe it was one of the questions that wasn’t answered months ago due to this website having problems.

To myself the most important thing within a synagogue and most likely to most Jews as well – the Torah and the Ark that holds it. The Torah I am pretty sure does not need to be explained why it is important to myself so I will move onto the Ark.

The Ark in a nutshell is where the Torah scrolls are stored when they are not being read and so on. It both protects and reminds us of the original ark itself.

The last important thing outside of the synagogue itself would be the people themselves. Without each other none of our culture or community would be here today.

Most important thing about a synagogue

What is the most important thing about a synagogue for Jewish people?

First, I’m sorry about the last of replies on this website. I had a problem with the wp_post table which stopped me from posting anything on this website and then after I fixed it a new editor was released that caused further issues.

Anyhows I’m going to go over a few of my backlog and this is the first question. If I don’t answer your question soon please do re-send.

So a while back I got this question and in my opinion there is two answers. The first is regarding the Torah and the studying and much more that goes on there but honestly I think there is a second answer that I think many will agree with me on – the community.

A synagogue brings Jews together and band together as a community much like how a church is a central point of many Christian lives – a place where they can stay in touch with their local community.

Reading of the will

Sorry about the lack of replies right now – am going to be going over my quite large backlogs and life right now be taking over so much of my time.

So I got two questions the other day which you can read below.

Hi! My question is: after a death, how long would a mourner wait to read the deceased’s will? Would it be totally taboo – or even not allowed – for the next of kin to ask to see if the day after death? Many thanks 🙂

Sorry, another question – I read that flowers weren’t a done thing at Jewish funerals, but would a Synagogue make an exception if the deceased, was, say, in a relationship with someone non-Jewish, who wanted to have flowers? Thankyou!

To answer the first bit about the will – It might just be me but I never heard or read anything that says you can’t read the will a day after a death. I did try to look up from a few different sources but I couldn’t find anything. I could be wrong but I can’t find anything to say otherwise.

Regarding the flowers, you are correct there. There is a couple of reasons why we don’t place flowers and its mostly down to everyone being equal, flowers die and not a good way to remember someone and that its better usage elsewhere for the money you spend on the flowers.

What I mean by this is it’s better to give the money you were going to spend on flowers over to a charity in the memory of the one that has passed away. It will help other people and have a far more long impact and after you done that take a simple stone and place it on the grave to show someone still remembers.

Regarding the actual question would they allow it? This is a harsh “maybe” but it might be seen as disrespectable or even just removed outright.

I’m going to toss out a link to Chabad about what you can expect on the day: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2699548/jewish/What-to-Expect-at-a-Jewish-Funeral.htm

What are your thoughts on crypto currency?

A short while ago I got the following question and one I am going to enjoy answering:

What are your thoughts on crypto currency?

To myself personally, I believe cryptocurrency is a way forward in changing how we think about money on a day to day basis and to get that away from a centralized location such as with the Government and banks. To be able to have a source of currency that isn’t subjectable to the will of world Governments is a great thing (although they do come with their own problems a Google search will go into these) for us as a society.

In terms of investing in them, however, I wouldn’t be so quick to jump into it. Bitcoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that has actually made a profit and is trusted and the others I have heard about is somewhat questionable and I would not trust throwing your money at it.

Now I am now an investor but I can tell you the bubble will pop in future but the greatest benefit behind it is the technology we gained from it and the fact we can have a currency without Government input is a way forward in the future.

With all that said I love cryptocurrency and believe it will be the future but give it time and there will be laws either controlling it, making it illegal or some other stuff to make it unwanted and that is where cryptocurrency will really be tested as a currency that can be used daily and replace what we know about money now.

What do Jewish men like as gifts?

With Hanukkah now over I thought I would come back to answering a few questions and while there are two very interesting questions I will answer some point next week (one about digital currency – will be an interesting read!) I figured I will do this quick one.

So the question was simple – what do Jewish men like for gifts. Well this is the same as any male really it all depends on what they like and typically buying something for their hobby would be great. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a website like https://www.israel365.com/ (no referral link).

 

Contacting to Judaism at a young age

A short while ago I got a question from Izzy who asked.

How can I convert to Jewism if I’m 14?

The technical answer is you can convert at that age but practically I doubt it will be possible for a Rabbi to start the progress with you as converting is quite a serious choice you have to make.

With that said there is nothing stopping you right now from going to a local Rabbi from the branch of Judaism you wish to convert to and speaking to them, getting used to the culture and learning much more about Judaism so you know you are making the right choice.

It also worth saying that your local Shul quite likely has evening lessons about Judaism (and possibly Hebrew) where you can learn a lot more.

Remember there is no harm at all from having an interest in Judaism at such a young age – I did as well!

Ask a Jew is back

It has been over three years from when I shut down this website. For those wondering why the website went offline was I decided to close it down for two reasons as I was insanely busy at the time and that I started to get so many abuse emails that I decided it was not worth running it at the time.

But things have changed and I am now in a position to carry on running this website for the foreseeable future 🙂

So please feel free to ask as many questions as you want!

(While I believe I restored as much as I could there may be some questions missing in the archives).

Why did Jesus have to die?

Slightly different style question today. Today I got the following.

this is going to bea touchy question and if it offends anyone, I am profoundly sorry but I am asking out of ignorance and I truly want to know. I have asked this question of Christian pastors but no one seems to be able to answer me or get what I am trying to ask. So, rather than ask a believer in Christ, I would rather ask a Rabbi. my question is very profound and please just concentrate on my words. The core of Christian faith is that Christ died for our sins.I just don’t understand this.from a strictly cause and effect position, Why would a divine being need to sacrifice himself? What universal law was in effect from the beginning of existence that says that a god must die to forgive the sins of lesser creatures?or perhaps it was just a gesture? A grand gesture to show how much God loved us? I can understand this more if there was a logical cause and effect. For instance, if you are reading a story or a book, or watching a movie and see so meone give their life to save someone else. You understand why, you see the cause and effect and the reasons. But I see no reason for the verse “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son’. of course, faith has much to do with this, but faith cannot answer my question. And does faithful enough to just believe this cannot answer my question either.why not, if God so loved the world, he declared it divine law that our sins were forgiven, or just allowed us to be. Why sacrifice his incarnated son? there must be some law or rule to define this. Why must Christ be sacrificed for the sins of the world? why the death of a god? the god rather?of course I know that Judaism is not Christianity and more than likely you’re asking yourself, why I ask a Jew this? well, I ask because no doubt you are a learned and scholarly person, but I also ask you because I have not been able to find an adequate answer elsewhere. Thank you for any enlightenment might be able to give m e.

Actually a good question compared to half of them I get on here. Now I am not sure if this will actually answer your question but I too have problems understanding the answer behind it and that is – atonement or better way to put it. I may be wrong with this answer but I will try the best that I can based on what I know and information that I can find..

  1. That there is a G’d.
    1. Gen. 1:1, “In the beginning G’d created the heavens and the earth.”
  2. That G’d is limitless
    1. Psalm 90:2, “Before the mountains were born, Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art G’d.”
    2. Psalm 147:5, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.”
    3. Jer. 23:24, “Can a man hide himself in hiding places, So I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord.”
  3. G’d is holy
    1. Isaiah 6:3, “And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”
    2. Rev. 4:8 “And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord G’d, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”
  4. G’d is righteous
    1. Neh. 9:32-33, “Now therefore, our G’d, the great, the mighty, and the awesome G’d, who dost keep covenant and lovingkindness, Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before Thee, Which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and on all Thy people, From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day. 33“However, Thou art just in all that has come upon us.”
    2. 2 Thess. 1:6, “For after all it is only just for G’d to repay with affliction those who afflict you.”
  5. Therefore, G’d is infinitely holy and just.
  6. Furthermore, G’d speaks out of the character of what He is.
    1. Matt. 12:34, “…For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
  7. G’d spoke the Law
    1. Exodus 20:1-17, “Then G’d spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your G’d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me….”
  8. That the law G’d passed is holy and righteous.
    1. Rom. 7:12, “So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.”
  9. Due to this, breaking G’d law is to offend him.
  10. Thus G’d must punish the law breaker – why have law if it is not to be enforced.
    1. Amos 2:4, “Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Judah and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they rejected the law of the Lord And have not kept His statutes.”
    2. Rom. 4:15, “…for the Law brings about wrath.”
  11. G’d decided that death must be the punishment.
    1. Ezekiel 18:4, “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine.  The soul who sins will die.”
    2. Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of G’d is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  12. Due to this, the sinners need to escape G’d judgement else they will face damnation.
    1. Rom. 1:18, “For the wrath of G’d is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
    2. Matt. 25:46, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
  13. However due to G’d being infinite, the offense of sin is also infinite meaning nothing a sinner can do can fix the sin.
    1. Gal. 2:16, “…by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”
    2. Gal. 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of G’d; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
    3. Rom. 8:3, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, G’d did: sending His own Son…”
  14. Because G’d want to people to be saved and the sinner can not do it, G’d has to do it.
  15. Thus Jesus is born – who is G’d in the flesh.
    1. John 1:1,14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G’d, and the Word was G’d…. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
    2. Col. 2:9, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
  16. Jesus follows the law.
    1. 1 Tim. 2:5, “For there is one G’d, and one mediator also between G’d and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
    2. Gal. 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of the time came, G’d sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
  17. This bit I am not too sure why and how, but Jesus took the sins of mankind when he died on the cross but due to this the law and the punishment is done.
    1. 2 Cor. 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of G’d in Him.”
    2. 1 Peter 2:24, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”
    3. Rom. 8:3-4, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, G’d did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
  18. Thus Jesus died in our place and thus provided salvation.
    1. Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of G’d; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
    2. Gal. 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”
    3. Eph. 5:2, “and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to G’d as a fragrant aroma.”

So according to the Christian faith, Adam and Eve was sinned but due to the nature of G’d we could not save ourselves. So instead G’d saves mankind by sending Jesus which was G’d in the flesh.